Back in April, Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S. told NPR:
“About 30 percent of people in Stockholm have reached a level of immunity. We could reach herd immunity in the capital as early as next month.”
But many Swedes, despite their publicly voiced support for their government’s herd immunity strategy, don’t seem to be personally quite as enthusiastic about their government’s plan for them to contract the virus as their public health officials assumed.
Rather than rushing out to lick subway handrails in support of the state’s Herd Immunity strategy, many Swedes seem to be shying away from doing what it takes to get infected right away: “Thank you, but no, you first.”
A press release (via Google Translate) from Karolinska U. Hospitals in Stockholm:
Large study maps coronas infection in Stockholm
MON, MAY 18, 2020 14:02 CET
About 15 percent of healthy people in Stockholm have undergone or are now infected with the virus that causes covid-19. It shows results from the research study conducted at Karolinska University Hospital.
Over 11,000 employees at Karolinska University Hospital have submitted swallowing [saliva?] tests for virus detection with PCR and blood tests for detection of antibodies against the coronavirus in the blood over the past four weeks, a sign that the person had the infection. When about 5,500 PCR samples and 3,200 antibody samples have now been analyzed, the results show that:
– 7 percent had viruses in the pharynx, detected by PCR.
– 10 percent had antibodies in the blood
– 2.4 percent had both antibodies and viruses
It’s not at all clear if this admirably large sample of hospital employees is representative of Stockholm residents in general. It would seem as if hospital employees would have a relatively high chance of being infected.
It’s clear that Stockholm hospital employees are infected much more than, say, US Major League Baseball employees (less than 1% of whom were infected according to disappointed Stanford researchers). But whether that’s enough to vindicate the Swedish government’s herd immunity strategy remains to be seen.